Infertility in dogs has gained relevance because of the greater popularity of purebred dogs, as well as for sentimental or financial reasons. In fact, breeders may be concerned about different types of problems that include, among others, true infertility or having an excessively prolonged phase of anesthesia.
Infertility in dogs may be due to difficult situations to establish. For example, bitches housed in very bad environmental conditions – which include a high density of animals, low luminosity or low quality food – may have a very prolonged anestro phase.
1. Infertility in dogs due to female conditions
Infertility for excessively long intervals of the hormonal cycle
In the sexually mature females, the hormonal cycle that is commonly called the heat cycle or estrous cycle is established. Excessive prolongation of the intervals of sexual rest or anestrus phase can occur due to hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, hyperprolactinemia or bitches treated with hormonal compounds.
Infertility with normal interstellar intervals
Hormonal defects can also be suspected in female dogs with regular interstellar intervals.
- Infectious diseases caused by viruses or bacteria
Several viruses have been shown to play a potential role in canine infertility, among which are the canine herpes virus (CHV) or the canine minute virus (CPV1) of the parvovirus family.
The incidence of bacterial infections in canine infertility is better documented. Canine brucellosis can cause early embryonic or fetal death through endometritis.
Genital bacteria infections
Canine mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas are commonly isolated in the genital tract of fertile and infertile bitches. But it has been shown that there is a higher incidence of these agents in the vagina of infertile bitches.
Infertility in dogs induced by drugs
Some medications may contribute to fertility decline. Steroid hormones and antifungal compounds can create hormonal defects.
Anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract
Some bitches fail to mate due to congenital or acquired anomalies of the posterior genital tract (vulva, vestibule or vagina). Acquired diseases or abnormalities of the posterior genital tract – scars after a bad birth, episiotomy or violent mating – can also lead to lack of intercourse.
Endometritis is a common cause of infertility in mares. In female dogs, however, it is difficult to diagnose. Endometrial cytology, eventually performed after endoscopic cannulation of the cervix, can be valuable.
Abnormal sexual behavior
Many psychological factors can influence sexual receptivity in female dogs:
Systemic diseases such as Diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocorticism or renal failure may be associated with infertility.
2. Infertility in dogs due to male conditions
Infertility in male dogs may be the most common cause of canine conception failure. Despite this, very little is known about male infertility in dogs.
A prostate problem, such as Chronic prostatitis often plays a direct role in decreasing fertility. In the case of hematospermia (presence of blood in the semen), when you suspect an infectious prostatitis, a bacterial examination of an ultrasound-guided biopsy is recommended as a diagnostic technique, rather than practicing semen culture.
For the treatment of prostate problems in dogs, antiandrogenic compounds are generally used. such as finasteride and osaterone acetate. These treatments seek to reduce the size of the canine prostate without altering spermatogenesis.
Infectious diseases probably represent the important cause of infertility in male dogs that live in breeding kennels.
Canine brucellosis infection in males has been well described. Thus, any male dog suffering from infertility with a poor spermatogram must undergo serological tests to detect this disease.
The central hormonal causes in the male are not well documented. Excessive hormonal secretion is associated with testicular tumors that can cause a decrease in spermatogenesis. Hypothyroidism is often declared as a possible cause of infertility.
Retrograde ejaculation consists of a retrograde flow of semen into the bladder when ejaculation occurs. This leads to aspermia or oligospermia.. In dogs, retrograde ejaculation is not well documented.
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